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The Wife of Bath A good WIF was ther, OF biside There was a WIFE of BATH, or a BATHE, near city, But she was somdel deef, and that was Who was somewhat deaf, it is a pity. scathe. At making clothes she had a skillful hand Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt, 450 She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt. 450 She bettered those of Ypres and of Ghent. In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon In all the parish there was no wife to go That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde And proceed her in offering, it is so; goon; And if one did, indeed, so angry was she And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was It put her out of all her charity. she, That she was out of alle charitee. 455 Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground; 455 Her head-dresses were of finest weave I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound and ground; That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed. I dare swear that they weighed about ten Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed, pound Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste Which, on a Sunday, she wore on her and newe. head. Her stockings were of the finest scarlet red, Tightly fastened, and her shoes were soft and new. 460 Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of 460 Bold was her face, and fair, and red of hewe. hue. She was a worthy womman al hir lyve: She'd been respectable throughout her life, Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde Married in church, husbands she had five, fyve, Not counting other company in youth; Withouthen oother compaignye in youthe, But thereof there's no need to speak, in - truth. But therof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe. 465 And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem; 465 Three times she'd travelled to Jerusalem; She hadde passed many a straunge strem; And many a foreign stream she'd had to At Rome she hadde been, and at stem; Boloigne, At Rome she'd been, and she'd been in In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne. Boulogne, She koude muchel of wandrynge by the In Spain at Santiago, and at Cologne. weye. She could tell much of wandering by the way: 470 Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye. 470 Gap-toothed was she, it is the truth I say. Upon an amblere esily she sat, Upon a pacing horse easily she sat, Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat Wearing a large wimple, and over all a hat As brood as is a bokeler or a targe; As broad as is a buckler or a targe; A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large, An overskirt was tucked around her buttocks large, 475 And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe. 475 And her feet spurred sharply under that. In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and In company well could she laugh and carpe. chat. Of remedies of love she knew per The remedies of love she knew, chaunce, perchance, For she koude of that art the olde daunce. For of that art she'd learned the old, old dance.
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